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At Rs 30/kg, potato pinches pockets.

Date: 28-12-2020
Subject: At Rs 30/kg, potato pinches pockets
Kolkata: Even though the potato price saw a sudden spike in last few days after a brief relief in the first week of December, new crops from Punjab and Uttar Pradesh, which will reach the city’s retail markets  shortly, are likely to bring the price down in the New Year. This year saw a record rise in potato price. 

In November, price of common variety (Jyoti) rose to all-time high of Rs 45 a kg. In last four days, potatoes got pricier by Rs 10. On Sunday, the retail price hovered around Rs 29/30 a kg. However, the wholesale price dropped below Rs 25 a kg. “We expect the retail price to plunge from Monday,” said Mohammed Akram, a wholesale trader at Jan Bazar. 

In rural markets, however, potato price dropped below Rs 24 a kg because of the impact of new crop. 

The cold storage stock clearance from November 30 also had an impact on potato price. Moreover, the state government’s decision to release its buffer stock of 50,000 tonnes in the retail market also led to a significant plunge to Rs 20 a kg by December 15. “This plunge, however, sent potato traders in a tizzy,” said Lalu Mukherjee, secretary West Bengal Potato Traders Association. 

Cold storages across the state were closed on November 30. “Sudden over-supply of potatoes in retail markets not only brought down the price but also also caused panic among traders. The traders, who were to import new potatoes from Punjab, cancelled their booking out of panic, creating a demand-supply gap,” said Gautam Sinha, secretary, Posta Bazar Traders’Association. 

The move of cancelling the booking of new crop was driven by fear of loss by a section of traders. Suddenly, there was a demand-supply gap. The gap led to the spike of Rs 150-200 per 50 kg bag in the wholesale market. However, the gap in supply will be bridged shortly, since fresh stock from Punjab is on its way to the city, assured Bhola Das, a potato trader at Lake Market. 

Even new potatoes from Bankura and Midnapore have also started reaching the market. 


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